In January 2016, AKDN completed its purpose-built student accommodation building known as Victoria Hall King's Cross. This is one of two projects that AKDN are developing at King's Cross, the vibrant part of central London being established over 67 acres next to King’s Cross and St Pancras International stations.
The second project, due to be completed in 2018, is an academic and office building to house the teaching, learning and administration spaces for The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) and the Aga Khan University (International) in the United Kingdom Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC). It will also house the offices of Aga Khan Foundation (UK). Through relocation from currently leased premises to a permanent campus within King’s Cross, the intention is to strengthen the activities of AKDN in the UK. Both buildings incorporate gardens within their design with each green space representing— through contemporary landscape design—a garden from a different region of the Muslim world. AKDN has also collaborated with the King’s Cross developer, Argent, on the design briefs for two gardens next to the academic building which will also seek similar inspiration. Through these representations, the green spaces will demonstrate the great diversity of cultures that constitute the worlds of Islam. The London-based award-winning architects, Stanton Williams, designed the student housing building and the student accommodation management company, Victoria Hall, is the operator. It has 198 student rooms and a number of communal spaces for student life. Students from AKU-ISMC and IIS occupy just over half of the rooms and the balance is rented out to third parties. Construction of the academic building, designed by the renowned Japanese architect, Pritzker Prize laureate Fumihiko Maki, commenced in early 2016 and the building is expected to be completed in 2018. The building is designed primarily for an academic community, with spaces for students, scholars and staff to share ideas and work together alongside spaces that cater to their distinct needs for flexible teaching spaces, quiet research spaces and library space for study and for secure archival storage for rare books and manuscripts.